For some Americans, Independence Day, commonly shortened to just “the 4th of July”, will be just another day. Some could care less as to what those who established this great nation sacrificed for them to enjoy the benefits of liberty and freedom.
As I read through the lives of the 56 signatories of the Declaration of Independence, I concluded that of three unifying factors utilized to devise this document “honor” was central. Though what follows are this writer’s interpretation of their individual writings, honor seemed to be highly important.
Honor, they seemed to believe, is the ability to put morality ahead of expediency; duty ahead of self-indulgence; and to do this habitually without having to think about it. These qualities do not occur innately in people. It must be taught. Parents must teach it. Schools must teach it. Churches must teach it. Unless they do, the efforts of the Founders, their sacrifices as well as those of their posterity who stood and stand for freedom will be in vain.
The sense of honor that most of our forebears knew and practiced has been weakened even considered undesirable by some. They do not understand nor recognize how important honor is in the conduct of our daily lives. They laugh at those who follow this virtue believing “getting away with it” is far more profitable and good just so long as it does not hurt anyone directly.
Those who signed the Declaration of Independence did understand. In the last line of that document, each pledged to the each other “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor”. To these individuals, honor was not just some insignificant concept to be taken lightly. It was SACRED!
Available on more than a million websites are the histories of those who signed the Declaration of Independence and their sacrifices. I encourage readers to note their sacrifices made on your behalf. This is how they understood the meaning of honor. In fact, reading the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July is a great family tradition! We must in some way recapture honor for our own today for ourselves and our posterity. Happy Independence Day to all!